News + Ideas

MGAC Impacts: Andrew Agbo on Projects for Public Good, Six-Egg Omelettes, and Iconic Builds


Andrew with his wife, Isabel (left) and with his children (right).

The Impact Blog is a spotlight series that highlights and celebrates the diverse employees that make MGAC tick. Beyond their day-to-day schedules, we want to know how they have a greater impact on their colleagues, their company, and the communities in which they live and work. We want to know what makes them get out of bed in the morning, what led them to their current role, and what they hope their lasting impact will be.

Today, we get to know Andrew Agbo, Senior Project Manager at MGAC.

MGAC: Hello and welcome to the Impact Blog, Andrew!

Andrew Agbo (AA): Thanks!

MGAC: What is your role here at MGAC?

AA: I am a Senior Project Manager overseeing various construction projects for MGAC in the UK. My role also includes providing support for younger members of the team as well as business development. We are always looking for opportunities to grow our work.

MGAC: When did you join MGAC?

AA: It’s been ten months now since I joined. I’m still fairly new!

MGAC: Settling in well?

AA: Yes, so far so good! MGAC is a great professional fit for what I was looking for, and on the social side, it’s great as well. People in the office here are quite approachable, and we all enjoy spending time together.

MGAC: Glad to hear it! What were you doing before you came to MGAC?

AA: Previously, I worked for a consulting and engineering services firm headquartered in Pasadena, California, called Tetra Tech—so another American-based company! I managed a team of five project managers and focused on government work around London, primarily within Whitehall. We were making several sites more modern and more carbon-efficient. I enjoyed it, but my role was focused on management and client relations, and I really wanted to get back to delivering large and complex schemes.

MGAC: Makes sense! How did you first make your way into the industry?  

AA: My dad owned property around the UK, and I grew up seeing that be redeveloped, brought up to certain standards, and let out to tenants. When I got to the end of my A levels and had to make a choice in terms of what degree I wanted to focus on, civil engineering and construction management seemed quite natural. I completed my undergrad in construction management at Kingston University and then a master’s degree in management of projects at the University of Manchester. As a part of the graduate scheme, I was placed with Babcock International for six months. After that, I got a full-time PM role and worked around the country with Babcock for about seven years before moving to the client side in London and eventually working for my prior employer, Tetra Tech, and then MGAC.

MGAC: You mentioned having early exposure to the industry while growing up; what do you think younger you would think about your role today?

AA: I think I’d find it really interesting. Even with that exposure, this isn’t the most obvious role or vocation to go into—certainly not as well known to kids as, say, an athlete, a doctor, a nurse, or a teacher. So, I think I would be really interested to see that I’d found a unique role and would be intrigued by all that the job entails.

MGAC: Makes sense! What’s keeping you busy right now at work?

AA: The main project at the moment is 318 Oxford Street, which is an older department store that has been refurbished into offices, restaurants, a rooftop bar, a gym, and shops on the ground floor. That’s now at the full construction stage. So we’ve gone through the whole process of designing, planning, and appointing the contractor. They’re on site now and have less than 20 months until completion. It’s really exciting. Iconic is an overused word, but working at this location, it really is an iconic site. The project is also quite large, so it’s an important one, and it’s great to be trusted with that responsibility.

MGAC: Absolutely. What other projects do you have going on right now? 

AA: The other main project is in Southampton. It’s an old warehouse facility that we’re fitting out for a client to move in to become their new headquarters. We’ve just gone out to the markets, and we’ve had three returns back from three contractors. We’re currently evaluating that, and we’ll probably select the contractor in about a month’s time. Then we’ll start work!

MGAC: Sounds like some interesting projects!

AA: Absolutely!

MGAC: With every day being a bit different, what does your ideal workday look like?

AA: It would be a hybrid day. Starting with going into the office nice and early. Seeing everyone in the office, having a good chat with them, and seeing how everyone’s getting on. Then sitting down and getting on with a lot of work. Stepping out to go on site, see how things are progressing. Meet with the contractor, meet with the design team, and then come back to the office to catch up on emails before going home. That’s probably the best day for me.

MGAC: A little bit of everything!

AA: Exactly. And we have team breakfast on Wednesday in our London office where we all eat together and have a good chat before getting back to work. So, Wednesdays are always good!

MGAC: Sounds like you’ve been settling in well! How has your time at MGAC made an impact on you?

AA: It’s been a real breath of fresh air to feel like I’m really making a difference here. I’ve been a small cog in a big machine before, where it’s hard to see the impact you’re leaving behind. Here, it’s impossible to miss that. Everyone plays an essential role in our projects and across the organisation.

MGAC: So rewarding to feel firsthand the way you are making a difference on the ground.

AA: Absolutely. When I think about the impact I hope to have, it’s simple really: being able to receive any queries, technical questions, or issues from the client, contractor, or design team and being able to provide an adequate response that gives the team direction. It’s keeping the intensity up and making sure we can deliver these projects on time. It’s quite nice to hear when colleagues appreciate my ability to give guidance where I can.

MGAC: Speaking of keeping the intensity up and delivering projects on time, what gives you energy to get the job done each and every day?

AA: I like to start my day by going to the gym. I’ve got a gym in my garden in a little outhouse. I try and start there and work out. That gets me feeling energised. I’ll often go for a run as well. If I’m working from home, I might go for a run at lunchtime instead of in the morning. That always gives me a bit of energy and focus for the day.

MGAC: How about a go-to routine for winding down at the end of the day?

AA: Usually just sitting down and having dinner, putting on a new TV series. Oftentimes speaking to friends and family. I’ve got a lot of family abroad, so we often try and speak in the evenings and see how we are all getting on. Occasionally, with a book.

MGAC: Do you have a favourite book?

AA: I think it would be 1984 by George Orwell. It can really focus you and remind you that if things are difficult, it could be a lot worse!

MGAC: That’s true! Now, are you ready for some rapid-fire questions?

AA: Alright!

MGAC: You’re starting the workday. What’s the first thing you do?

AA: Check my calendar. See what meetings I have, and see if there are any cancellations or changes I should account for.

MGAC: And the last thing? 

AA: Identify anything that’s still lingering and write it down to be tackled first thing the next day.

MGAC: What’s the first item on your list right now?

AA: Book my annual leave! I’ve got a design expo coming up as well as 5 days in Cyprus and a trip to Majorca!

MGAC: Exciting! What’s the most interesting thing we might find on your desk or in your work bag?

AA: Lots of pictures from my kids. I’ve got a seven-year-old and a set of twins who are five, who love to draw pictures and leave them in my bag, on my desk, everywhere they go!

MGAC: What can you not get through the workday without?

AA: A black americano.

MGAC: What’s your go-to workday lunch at the moment?

AA: At home, a six-egg omelet! I make it with spinach, cayenne pepper, a lot of cheese, and mackerel or tuna. If I’m at the office, I’ll pay a visit to the lovely food market just around the corner from us. I make an effort to go through each and every option, so that might be a noodle dish, rice, Indian food, or Turkish food.

MGAC: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

AA: Don’t be afraid to ask a question. Don’t suffer in silence.

MGAC: What’s an industry trend you love right now?

AA: Sustainability. Reusing materials. Minimising waste. It’s gone from a buzzword to mandatory, which is great.

MGAC: Looking at the industry ten years from now, what do you predict will have changed?

AA: Much more emphasis on technology and AI. Construction is an industry that’s very manual and labour-orientated, and I think there will be some advances to help make things a lot more accurate, minimise health and safety issues on site, and generate more jobs as well—new and different jobs.

MGAC: What do you think will remain the same?

AA: It’s still an industry that will never be fully automated. We’ll always need opinions and that human input to make it work.

MGAC: What would your dream project look like?

AA: Some sort of project that benefits everyone in some way. Perhaps a museum or something public-facing where everyone can access it and revel in the beauty of the building. Even if it’s a building where the public only accesses one part, say a rooftop terrace or view gallery, for instance. Just something nice that everyone can enjoy. I’ve worked a lot in London, so ideally, it would be somewhere else for a change of pace and the ability to experience a different culture.

MGAC: What are you known for around the office?

AA: Probably my diligent responses to tough emails and away from work rugby.

MGAC: What’s something your colleagues don’t know about you?

AA: Up until last week, they didn’t know I was a keen baker! We had a charity bake last week and they were all very surprised at how good my banana bread was! I also bake brownies and cakes—lemon cakes, carrot cakes, and blueberry cakes. It all started with a Victoria sponge I made as a kid for school. Mine turned out great, and my sister’s turned out like papier mache with raw eggs on the bottom. I thought I might be good at this and kept with it!

MGAC: Where might we find you if you’re not at work?

AA: In the gym. Fixing things around the house. Going for a run or cycling with the family in Richmond Park. Feeding the ducks there, grabbing an ice cream, having a BBQ—come warm weather, or rain, or cold weather!

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